Gabon

Overview

Gabon is a country in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo and the Gulf of Guinea. Following the death of El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba in 2009 - one of the longest-serving heads of state in the world and Gabon’s former president - new elections brought his son, Ali Bongo Ondimba, to power. Despite constrained political conditions, Gabon's small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make it one of the more stable African countries.

Economy

Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that of most sub-Saharan African nations, but because of high-income inequality, a large proportion of the population remains poor. Gabon depended on timber and manganese until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s. The economy was reliant on oil for about 50% of its GDP, about 70% of revenues, and 87% of goods exports for 2010, although some fields have passed their peak production. A rebound of oil prices from 1999 to 2008 helped growth, but declining production has hampered Gabon from fully realizing potential gains. Gabon continues to face fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, and manganese exports. Despite the abundance of natural wealth, poor fiscal management has stifled the economy.

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